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3PL Service Can Help Boost Your Amazon Business

3PL service can be a valuable tool to help your Amazon business grow and get where you want it to be. But why use 3PL service? What are the benefits of working with 3PLs? How can they help with your Amazon business? Those are all excellent questions, so let’s take some time to go over them in detail.

What is a 3PL Service?

You may be familiar with 3PL services already. A third-party logistics (3PL) company is a business or other entity that handles storage, transportation, sorting and delivery of goods on behalf of a retailer. The U.S. has more than 6,000 3PLs, according to American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). Amazon itself is often cited as one example of a company that uses 3PL service for its ecommerce sales via Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). In fact, many online retailers use 3PL services because they’re so convenient: They can offload some or all shipping responsibilities from their own staffs to experienced professionals who have access to resources like trucks, warehouses and sophisticated software. That leaves your small business free to focus on what it does best—selling products—while you outsource what you don’t need in order to grow faster.

With more and more businesses outsourcing their manufacturing overseas, 3PL service in other countries are also in high demand, especially in China. These companies can help your business save money by providing a single point of contact for all your global logistics needs. Many of these firms have experience dealing with multiple languages and cultures, so they can communicate directly with suppliers in foreign countries to ensure that your products arrive on time and as expected. This is particularly helpful if you’re new to importing or exporting goods from overseas: You can leave most of the work to them while you focus on growing your company’s sales revenue.

Why Do I Need it as an Amazon Seller?

More importantly, what are your options for managing third-party fulfillment? One option is to do it all in-house, but that can be difficult if you’re trying to run a business. In addition, it might make more sense from a brand management perspective to use outside vendors with established reputations. For example, Shield Works offers 3PL (third-party logistics) services that allow Amazon sellers to leverage its warehousing infrastructure and expertise on their behalf. This allows Amazon sellers like you to focus on brand development instead of worrying about operational details. 

What’s more, it provides peace of mind by helping ensure inventory doesn’t sit idle or get lost. There are many ways to approach your online sales efforts—and no one way is better than another—but shipping and fulfillment may be one area where working with an expert makes sense.

What Should You Look For In A 3PL Service Provider?

The following are some things you should consider when evaluating a 3PL service:

Global reach

Choose a provider with locations around the world so you can reach customers in multiple time zones. Comprehensive set of transportation options. You’ll want access to air, ocean, trucking and rail services so you can choose whichever mode is most cost-effective for each shipment.

Transparent rates and fees

Look for providers that charge per package or weight based on total volume rather than as a percentage of total value. This will allow you to price your products competitively without surprises at checkout from additional fees. Recurring transport scheduling/management capabilities.

Real-Time Tracking

Want to know where your shipments are at all times? 3PLs that offer real-time tracking can help ensure you’re meeting customer service standards. Check out the system they use and do some research on how it works and it’ll give you an idea how your goods will be handled.

Automated import/export services

For example, if you need assistance calculating how much duty you will owe on a shipment to Europe, a provider with an automated system can save you valuable time and eliminate errors.

Customized shipping solutions

A provider that offers these services will help you ship products directly from China or other overseas locations to your customers in North America and Europe at competitive rates. This is particularly helpful when importing large volumes of goods from China as it allows you to take advantage of bulk discounts on shipping charges by consolidating multiple packages into one larger shipment that arrives at its destination faster than individual shipments would have arrived.

Multiple package-shipping options (e.g., small, medium or large boxes).

A 3PL service provider should offer multiple box sizes so that you can choose which size best fits your product’s needs and reduce packaging costs accordingly.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring A 3PL Logistics Company

Choosing a 3PL service to transport your inventory can seem daunting. The Amazon marketplace is full of shipping companies claiming to offer inexpensive, efficient and reliable shipping services for sellers. As with any decision you make regarding your business, it’s important to take time before selecting a company that will handle your shipments. If you’re thinking about hiring a 3PL logistics company, ask yourself these questions first:

  1. How do they communicate?
  2. Is their response time reasonable?
  3. Does anyone actually pick up their phone when you call?
  4. What is their process for handling shipments?
  5. How can I access information about my shipment?
  6. How are customs forms handled?
  7. What happens if my shipment gets seized by customs or delayed by weather or other factors outside of my shipper’s control?

As we wrap up, there are two things you should remember: first, 3PL’s can be a great asset to your Amazon business. By working with a reliable and trustworthy service provider, you can save time and resources on everything from picking and packaging to shipping and order fulfillment. The second thing is just as important: choose a provider that meets all of your specific needs. The best 3PL will have industry expertise (especially in terms of handling products), but will also make it easy for you to monitor shipments and control inventory without missing out on profit potential. Whether you’re just starting out or expanding an existing operation, pay attention to each of these tips when selecting a new supplier partner!

Shield Works is one of your ideal options with our western background and 17-year industry experience. We have helped so many launch their Amazon business with our logistics service in both the US and China. Reach out to us and learn more about how we can help!